Chernobyl ending explained: What happened in the Chernobyl finale?


Chernobyl episode five is the final instalment in the HBO and Sky miniseries. You can watch the entire series on NOW TV and HBO now. The final episode will air tonight (Tuesday, June 4) on Sky Atlantic. There are a lot of things to decode form the Chernobyl finale but here’s a quick recap of the major moments.

What happened in the Chernobyl finale?

The start of the Chernobyl finale took place 12 hours before the Chernobyl nuclear explosion.

Atony Dyatlov (played by Paul Ritter) is seen attending a meeting with plant director Viktor P. Bryukhanov (Con O’Neill) and chief engineer Nikolai Fomin (Adrian Rawlins), where they discuss how they will go ahead with a late night safety test, despite being told it was unsafe for the test to continue.

The final episode then flashes forward to July 1987, when the Soviet government launched a criminal trial and investigation into the cause of the explosion.

On trial was Nikolai Fomin, Anatoly Dyatlov and Viktor P. Bryukhanov.

Throughout the final episode, the timeline flashed between the evening of the disaster and the state trial in 1987.

Chernobyl commission leader Boris Shcherbina (Stellan Skarsgård) Nuclear scientist Ulana Khomyuk (Emily Watson) and Soviet inorganic chemistry Valery Legasov (Jared Harris) all gave evidence at the trial, which pointed to the disaster as a result of human error.


Boris Shcherbina

Shcherbina gave evidence at the state trial and explained what happened in the immediate aftermath of the explosion.

In the end, he could see through the Soviet Government’s untrue version of events.

Giving evidence, Shcherbina revealed that the safety test had been carried out three times before and had failed.

Sadly, it was the fourth attempt that disaster struck after staff management ignored orders not to go ahead with the test.

The friendship and trust that blossomed between Scherbina and Legasov were emotional to watch.

The pair had their final conversation outside the court together, were Legasov told him how proud he was of Schernbina and how much he admired him

Viewers will remember fat the beginning of episode two, Schernbina was reluctant to work with Legasov, let alone listen to him.

Sadly., throughout the final episode, Schernbina was seen coughing a lot as a result of radiation poisoning.

In the final moments of the episode, it was revealed that he died in Moscow 1990, aged 70.


Ulana Khomyuk

Khomyuk’s hard work paid off in the end and her research and evidence gathering, supported a lot of the prosecution case.

Khomyuk had spoke to the firefighters in the hospital and the plant staff before they passed away of acute radiation poisoning.

Every staff member’s account of the safety test was the same and each clarified that Anatoly was in charge of the safety test at the time.

Khomyuk also encouraged Valery Legasov not to lie at the Vienna conference that took place shortly before the trial, where he shared details about the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

However, Legasov refused to share details about a similar explosion that happened at a Leningrad power plant a few years earlier, which also had a RMBK reactor, the same type that exploded at Chernobyl.

The Soviet Union was able to cover up the explosion in Leningrad and removed all traces of it happening from records following the Chernobyl explosion.

Legasov knew it had occurred but did not expose the truth.

Khomyuk desperately pleaded with him to expose the Soviet government’s lies and risk his life so justice could be done.

In the end, Legasov did not reveal the truth at Vienna, but instead exposed the Soviet government during the criminal trial.

Valery Legasov

For much of the finale, Legasov was torn between telling the truth about the Soviet Government’s secrets and protecting the government and country he worked so hard to save.

Legasov explained the science behind how the reactor exploded and pointed the finger at Dyatlov.

Whilst Legasov was giving evidence, the timeline flashed back to the night of the experiment, where Dyatlov could be seen screaming orders at his staff to go ahead with the test, against their protests that it was unsafe.

Legasov was able to prove that Dyatlov had told his staff to raise the power, when they knew the reactor was failing.

The judge presiding over the trail cut Legasov ’s testimony short, butShcherbina protested, demanding he let Legasgov continue.

If Shcherbina had not protested, perhaps the truth would have never of came out.

In the following moments, Legasov exposed the truth about the Soviet government and the nuclear industry.

He referred to the Leningrad explosion that happened years prior and how the government failed to replace all of the 16 RMBK reactors spread across the Soviet Union.

Legasov’s fall from grace came when he accused the Soviet government of lying.

Legasov’s final moments saw him being threatened by a KGB officer and being told he would never work in science again.

His life was spared by the KGB but Chernobyl viewers will know that Legasov took his own life exactly two years to the day after the Chernobyl disaster occurred.


The final moments

Before Legasov passed away, he recorded a series of tapes, exposing the truth about Chernobyl.

In the final moments, a version of the tapes were played with Jared Harris (who played Legasov) narrating.

The last five minutes explained what happened next to those affected by Chernobyl.

Dyatlov, Fomin and Bryukhanov were sentenced to 10 years in a labour camp.

The finale revealed that Lyudmila (Jessie Buckley), Vasily’s (Adam Nagaitis) wife was told she could never have children again as a result of radiation poisoning.

There was some good news as it was revealed Lyudmila was living in Kiev with her son.

Tributes were also paid to the numerous men and women who lost their lives in the Chernobyl disaster.

One name was mentioned in particular, Valery Khodemchuk, whose body is entombed in the reactor number 4 at Chernobyl.

Chernobyl is streaming on NOW TV now


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